Please accept my application to test the Gregory 2005 G-Pack. I have
read and understood the Survival guide v.1202 (in particular, chapter
5) and agree to follow all guidelines within. I have also sent in my
Personal Biographical Information:
Name: André Corterier
Height: 1.85 m (6'1")
Weight: 80 kg (175 lb)
Email address: andreDOTcorterierATfreenetDOTde
City, State, Country: Bonn, Germany
I began backpacking in my late teens using Europe's "InterRail"-
System weight hardly mattered, as we were on trains a lot. I
recently rediscovered backpacking and have started out slowly
single-day 15 mile (24 km) jaunts by myself or even shorter hikes in
the company of my little daughter. I am getting started on longer
hikes, as a lightweight packer and hammock-camper. I've begun
upgrading my old gear and am now shooting for a dry FSO weight
(everything carried From the Skin Out except food, fuel and water) of
about 10 kg (22 lb) for three-season camping. Not quite there yet.
There are a number of things I'd look out for in any backpack, and
they all seem to bear on this one, as well:
- strap placement: How far apart are the shoulder straps
located will they tend to slide off my shoulders or pinch my neck?
How much adjustment is possible in their length? Does the curvature
tend to pinch my chest, or will they hug my chest comfortably? Does
this "sport harness" really create the kind of back-hugging stability
that I look for when going for a spot of trail running? (Which, with
a backpack on, is just backpacking on fast forward, so it should
count.) Apparently, the Wraptor design is meant to accommodate just
that sort of activity. I'd be happy to find out how well it works.
- How much form does the cut of the sack, combined with its
suspension, give to the pack so contents can be stacked up (I'm
thinking of high-volume low-weight things like fleece), or does
everything gather in an unsightly (and unbalancing) lump at the
bottom? And what's "Exo" about an internal frame?
- Weather Protection: The pack material is siliconized, so
should be waterproof. The manufacturer calls it "water resistant".
That means a lot depends on the seams: How much water enters the pack
when hiking in a drizzle/the rain/a downpour? (As the testing period
will encompass all of the fall, the ability to try it out in rain is
guaranteed). I pack my down bag into a garbage bag for protection
anyway, so I'd simply drape my PakTowl over the contents of my pack,
which should allow me to check visually how much water if any has
entered. I'd consider applying some seam sealer to the seams,
depending on what the first wet experiments bring and moderator
approval. I guess it really would be a mod, so if I felt the pack
might benefit from it, I'd do that after the regular test period and
post an addendum once I have results.
- Comfort: Can I make this fit my back? Do the straps chafe,
does the hip belt pinch, and is the padding in the back adequate? (Of
course, providing a bladder compartment, as this pack does, goes a
long way towards keeping pointy things away from my back even if I
fail to pack them well, by interspersing a liquid-filled bladder
between pack and pack content. Does the "Wraptor" stabilizer
stabilize the load to add in comfort, or will it stabilize my upper
body so I feel like having been strapped into a straightjacket?
I see no load lifter straps on the pack picture. Will I miss them?
(My past experience with the Vapor Trail led me to believe that they
were absolutely key to achieving the kind of comfort I did.)
- Ventilation: Does the "chimney ventilated backpanel" really
provide more ventilation than my not-so-ventilated Vapor Trail
backpanel? (I won't go for a shootout, but my impression from my
current pack should allow me to judge whether the chimney ventilation
on the G-Pack actually does anything.)
- Load transfer: As with many, if not most, aspects, to a large
degree also a matter of comfort. Can the "gullwing waistbelt"
transfer the weight I'm carrying to my hips? Will it ride tightly
enough to let the weight be borne by my hips, and spread out the
load, or will it create pressure spots once I have food for several
days and/or fifty meters of rope in there? I am unable to judge from
the picture how thick the padding on the gullwings is I'd want to
find out whether Gregory skimped on this important comfort factor. On
some of the other packs, Gregory notes that the waist belt is less
substantial on their lighter weight packs (of which this is certainly
one) than on their big packs. However, they claim a comfortable
weight limit of 35 to 40 lb (15-18 kg). This is reassuring: On a
recent three-day trip without resupply, my pack weighed 14.1 kg (31
lb 2 oz), including the pack itself (1 kg/ 2.2 lb). So if the
manufacturer has its numbers right, I should be in the clear.
Durability is, of course, always an issue in a test. But particulars
which come to mind are: The joining of straps and G70 packsack do
these hold up to repeated use? Can a material this light serve as a
full-on backpack, including the incidental poking with brambles,
rubbing against rock etc. to which I am unwilling to devote enough
attention to avoid? I will also scrutinize the joining areas of the
210d HT nylon to the G70 fabric are the reinforcements placed well,
or do I find abrasion on the G70 fabric at the edges of the
- side pockets: They look large, which is good, but it does not
look as though they will be accessible for me while wearing the pack.
Too bad. But will they hold up? Will I be prone to losing items
stored there? Will they keep items stored there tight to the pack,
for reduced volume and klutz factor?
- waist belt pockets: Oh, I've always wanted those. How much
can I fit into them? Are they really as useful as I imagine? Will
they get in the way at all? And are they, too, water"resistant"?
- top zipper: Oh, glory day. The thing I probably miss most on
my Vapor Trail. How large is the pocket accessed thereby, and does
the zipper create a leaky spot?
- top access: That I'm used to, I won't miss another access
area. But how much use can I make of the lid? I've found the roll top
closures of my Vapor Trail a bit bothersome sometimes, so this would
be more convenient. But can I use the lid to hold my hammock
underneath it without screwing up pack balance?
- Compression straps: Is their usefulness in any way
compromised by their location in relation to the very large mesh
- Do the buckles stay snugly in place, or do the straps slip?
- The "Exo" frame is meant to twist laterally, yet provide
solid load transfer vertically. Sounds excellent, if it works. But
will it feel weird when bending somewhere in between? And will
whatever kind of joint system Gregory cooked up for this stand up to
the demands made of a backpack over the LTR?
- The "Wraptor" stabilizer is meant to keep the pack close to
my back. Does the added contact area, especially in the lumbar
region, help to achieve a comfortable load transfer? And/or will the
close fit result in heat buildup beyond the chimney ventilation's
ability to counteract?
And, lastly, looks: The page states (only) that the pack is available
in "Bamboo Green". The picture on the manufacturer's homepage, at
least when I view it using MS IE, does not seem to be any kind of
green, bamboo or otherwise. I'd be happy with a black pack, too,
though I would prefer (any kind of) green.
In this region, the probable test period (summer to winter) will
typically see temps between -5 C (25 F) and 35
C (95 F). For precipitation we'll have fog and drizzle as well as
rain in fall, thunderstorms in summer and likely a bit of snow in
winter. Fall tends to be windy.
Apart from a number of
day hikes and the occasional weekender, the pack would accompany me
on a 4-day outdoor camp (lots and lots of outdoor activity
backpacking, "forest maintenance", jogging, climbing) this summer.
Other longer duration activities
have not been finalized, but will be forthcoming. I may also use the
pack on a few fell-running blitzes, depending on how well
the "Wraptor" system works out. It might balance out the additional
weight over my MacPac Kauri (and the front waist belt pockets would
come in very handy there).
I've measured my back and come up, repeatedly, with 50 cm (19.5
inches), which puts me right on the spot between size Medium and size
Large packs. Going by past experience, I would choose a size Large
pack, unless the manufacturer (whose input I have solicited) suggests
something else. Belt size (if the gullwing waistbelt comes in the
usual Gregory sizes), should be large also (35 in hip).
My past Owner Reviews:
- Jack Wolfskin "World's End" tent at http://tinyurl.com/2w8vu
- Jack Wolfskin "Iceland Men" Jacket at http://tinyurl.com/yt4lg
- Jack Wolfskin "Texapore Mesh Hat" at http://snipurl.com/92wr
- Salewa Protection Windstopper Gloves at http://tinyurl.com/6k9pz
- Victorinox Outrider at http://tinyurl.com/6fspv)
- MacPac Kauri Backpack at http://tinyurl.com/bymsq
Ursa Designs Clikstand S-1 Complete Stove Set, at
C.Crane PakLite LED flashlight, at http://tinyurl.com/3rlo3
GoLite Wizard Jacket, at http://tinyurl.com/6783m
Dahlgren DriStride Alpaca Light Hiking Socks, at
AGG cozy cover (FR posted), at http://tinyurl.com/6sqp2
Ibex Roaster boxers (FR posted), at http://tinyurl.com/3vk8p
Ibex Wool Glove Liners (FR posted), at http://tinyurl.com/3wwd7
SmartWool microweight Tee (IR posted), at http://tinyurl.com/8d8yq
Katadyn Hiker Pro (yet to start)
I am currently active as a BGT Mentor and have been asked to be
available as a Monitor (which I am) (available, that is).
Concerning my currently four (to possibly five) test calls, I'd like
to point out that three of them are in the LTR phase, with their
reports due in August (1) and September (2, 2 weeks apart). S this
test won't burden me unduly. Still, I am appending my usual piece
about handling several tests at once (if you've read it before, you
know that all I do unsurprisingly is claim that it won't be a
problem at all). (Well, and describe why that's so.)
With the current glut in open test calls, we were - quite
reasonably - asked to think about the potential problems presented
by having a high number of tests going on at the same time and to
address this issue in upcoming applications, and here are my
thoughts on this:
Finishing and filing the outstanding LTRs won't be a problem as the
main body of those LTRs is already done on
my hard drive - lacking only the text of what additional findings may
still come up and a summary (although the headings even for those
are in place already). In fact, I will create a root IR for
the pack before it is shipped if I'm chosen (including MSRP, a quote
from the manufacturer's description, and a summary of the test plan
I put into my application). This - if past experience is anything to
judge by - will much reduce the amount of work associated with
creating and uploading the IR on time. And, as I have in the past, I
intend to create root FRs the moment I've uploaded the IRs (and
deleted the corresponding test files from the test folder) ;-)
With four tests running simultaneously until a little while ago,
this system which I have evolved has not made feel in any way put
upon to meet my obligations (and I point to what I believe to be a
perfect record in reports uploaded before their due date as
assurance). As I intend to follow this in the future as well (and am
lucky enough to have a job which allows me to do so) I feel
confident that I still have room beyond the tests I am involved in.